Last updated on July 12th, 2019 at 04:24 pm
Marquette alumnus and Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis is putting $10,000 of his personal cash into Madison startup Fiveable, which is also moving to Milwaukee.
Fiveable recently graduated from gener8tor’s 2019 Madison cohort.
“Really quick, a really exciting thing about Fiveable is we’re actually moving to Milwaukee thanks to the gener8tor program, so we’re now a part of your community,” said Amanda DoAmaral, founder and chief executive officer, during the 5 Lakes Pitch competition at Discovery World today.
The live-streamed social learning platform, which connects students with teachers for out-of-school support, took second place and an additional $5,000 grant in the contest, part of the two-day Summerfest Tech, where Lemonis was a celebrity guest judge.
Health care interoperability startup OneChart Health took the top prize in the 5 Lakes Pitch competition, complete with a $7,500 equity-free cash grant and in-kind services.
The startups were among four finalists to pitch judges at the contest today at Discovery World as part of Summerfest Tech, just before the two-week music festival kicked off.
The pitch competition, put on by 5 Lakes Forum, was open to startups that had raised less than $250,000 in funding or generated less than $500,000 in revenue that target the future of work; health; mobility; envirotech; or advanced manufacturing. Companies from the biotech, food and beverage and consumer products categories were not eligible for the contest.
Applications for 5 Lakes Pitch closed June 16, and on June 18 startups advancing to the preliminary round were notified. On June 25, the 10 preliminary round startups pitched at Godfrey & Kahn, and judges narrowed it to four finalists for the event today. Nearly 50 startups applied to the contest.
Fiveable had just under $6,000 in monthly recurring revenue in May, and has four full-time employees. It is currently raising $600,000 from investors, about half of which has been committed, so it can scale, DoAmaral said.
“Market value here is massive. I mean I’m talking about completely changing the way that students and teachers interact after school,” she said.
Lemonis advised DoAmaral not to limit the product to her personal experience as a teacher, but to think bigger.
“Is there a restriction on the curriculum?” Lemonis asked.
“No,” DoAmaral answered.
“Then why is there a restriction on the addressable market? …Everybody in this room is a student. We’re always learning something. So if the curriculum is broad enough, all kidding aside I may want to go take a simple math class because I don’t understand something and I may be embarrassed to acknowledge I don’t understand, is this a platform for somebody like me to go learn something that may have been taught in eighth grade that I just don’t know?”
“Yeah, 100%. I definitely think this can change how we learn as adults as well. You could do a livestream, for example, about business,” she said. “And people who want to access you have to pay a premium to come here.”
As Lemonis was giving out his decisions on the prizes, he said, “Second place will be Amanda, but I’d like to put $10,000 into your pocket.”
Rick Mirell, Milwaukee-based co-founder and head of growth at OneChart, said his father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about five years ago and now has a team of health professionals who need to communicate about his health. After a wasted day spent on re-doing a lost CT scan for another provider, Mirell was frustrated.
While large electronic health records companies are working on the problem of health record interoperability, individuals can’t access their technology, he said.
“Our view is that the patient should be at the center, just like they are in their care. So the data should be aggregated around the patient and it should go wherever the patient goes,” he said.
Lemonis said the contest and his critiques were aimed at helping startups hone their skills and get feedback to improve upon their ideas.
“In first place, not because his presentation was the best, but because the merits of the idea and the purpose behind it and what it can solve for all of us living in this information age where we are fearful for our health and our family’s health…would be (OneChart Health),” he said.
Otologic said it is also planning to locate its headquarters in Milwaukee. The company is in the process of incorporating. It is currently raising a friends and family capital round and it plans to pursue technology transfer grants from NIH, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and others to provide up to $1.25 million to get to the commercialization stage.
“We were actually pitched by Ohio and by North Carolina to incorporate there and we chose Wisconsin because of the vast number of resources available to startups here. Our organizing office is in Madison but we are shortly moving our headquarters to Milwaukee,” said Dan Wenger, chief strategy officer at Otologic Technologies.